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Self-Branding and Gender


Swan

Junior Member
#1
Hi guys,
I'm a girlshaped web & print designer currently employed in an all-male firm, but starting the process for striking out on my own (for various reasons) but I'm presented with a question.

If I self-brand/use my name prominently, is my gender going to put clients off before we're even in the 'get a quote' stage? (I have an obviously female but relatively uncommon name)

Do people outside the web/tech world see a woman unlikely to have the technical knowledge or skills to pull off the kind of website they want? Are they going to try lowballing because I'm a woman, so I must be a soft touch?

Is my gender an asset, or a hindrance?

The fact that at the moment I'm the only woman (aside from the catering and cleaning staff) in a building that houses three creative companies, so that's probably making me more aware of what effect it might have on potential clients when I go it alone.

I'd love to hear some opinions, or experiences :)
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
#2
In my view it's like all work, some will have an issue with it, some won't.

Also it depends on how you market yourself, you could use your gender as a selling point in the same way as female taxi cab drivers do, ie aimed for women on nights out etc.

You've also got to consider as well (and I'm sure the male members will agree) that you will come up with different styles/ideas than most of us purely as you are female, most of us generally have a 'masculine' style to our work and that's not what every client is after. Then there's the usual interpretation of the brief, just look how different we've all been during the competitions etc.
 

Sunburn

Active Member
#3
I have worked with several female developers, their code looks like their male counterparts, after all code doesn't discriminate on gender. I think Levi has nailed it though, in life, in everything you do some have problems with gender some dont.

As long as your services and or solution meets the business objectives as set out, your gender should never come into it.
 

Kevin

Senior Member
#4
Here's an article I read the other day: Don’t reduce your audience to a stereotype Boagworld

I can't really be bothered to put all my thoughts in a well-structured post right now:
  • Gender wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me, personally.
  • Some people, male and female alike, might prefer working with women.
  • There are some well-known and respected female designers/developers out there, not as much as there are male but I think it's just the nature of the industry (see article above).
  • We have a 'girlshaped' :)P) developer at the office and she too is the only one in the team. She does her job just as well as the two male developers.
  • You shouldn't be asking us, men "on the inside" about this, because I think for us it wouldn't make a difference. You should be asking women "on the inside" who have had experience with this, or people on the outside.
 

Renniks

Senior Member
#5
I think I'd have more issues with someone branding completely on the fact they are a woman and how difficult that is, rather than branding on how good they are at their job :D
 

Jimlad

Well-Known Member
#6
Renniks said:
I think I'd have more issues with someone branding completely on the fact they are a woman and how difficult that is, rather than branding on how good they are at their job :D
I'd agree with that.:up:

Gender really has no effect on design skill, and it shouldn't play a prominent role in your self-promotion unless you're trying to appeal to one gender more than the other. Lots of designers are women.
 

wac

Senior Member
#7
Sunburn said:
code doesn't discriminate on gender.
lol I can't wait for the debossed rubber wristbands!

Anyway, I've seen quite a few independent design sites by women who utilise their gender with effeminate colours and type faces and I suppose like most things gender will have an impact on design but as long as your rocking a top drawer portfolio it shouldn't matter. So perhaps you should just follow your muse?
 
#8
Some great responses here.

Personally I've not experienced any sort of gender bias (I'm not self branded but I gained a lot of clients in the early years of my business from business networking when it was clear to all that I am female), think that the incidence of this is probably rare, and therefore I would agree with the advice that it's ok to self brand using your own name.

Not that you said you were thinking of doing this, but I would definitely recommend against branding yourself as a 'female business owner' or 'great for female businesses' in that way. The brand mark can feature your name, but I feel the brand identity (behavior etc) should be gender neutral, your 'brand' should not be 'female'.

I see no gain in branding as a 'female business niche service', I doubt there would be sufficient marketing advantage to make it worth alienating 50% of your potential customer base.


Amanda
 
#10
I think if you're good enough, you're good enough.

By that I mean you'll either get work through word of mouth or because someone has seen your work and wants to use you. Beyond that it shouldn't make a difference.

Good luck btw.

Striking out on your own, as in leaving totally?
 

Xenonsoft

Active Member
#11
VLAHAKISA said:
Some great responses here.

Personally I've not experienced any sort of gender bias (I'm not self branded but I gained a lot of clients in the early years of my business from business networking when it was clear to all that I am female), think that the incidence of this is probably rare, and therefore I would agree with the advice that it's ok to self brand using your own name.

Not that you said you were thinking of doing this, but I would definitely recommend against branding yourself as a 'female business owner' or 'great for female businesses' in that way. The brand mark can feature your name, but I feel the brand identity (behavior etc) should be gender neutral, your 'brand' should not be 'female'.

I see no gain in branding as a 'female business niche service', I doubt there would be sufficient marketing advantage to make it worth alienating 50% of your potential customer base.


Amanda
Informative post, thanks Amanda.
 

Swan

Junior Member
#12
Thanks for the responses, everyone :)

It's been my aim to leave gender out of it completely, but there's been that nagging doubt.
You've all pretty much eased my worries and cemented my own thoughts --- that if you can produce the goods it doesn't matter if you're a line-dancing capybara called Bob.

Oh, no intentions of doing the whole "by women, for women!" thing. I find it quite tacky, and I'd rather be a 'designer' than a 'female designer' as much as possible. But yes, thanks for the thoughts on that, too. Again, reinforcing what had been floating around my mind.

And yeah, 'striking out on my own' as in completely - my job in a rocky situation at the moment and there aren't any jobs locally, so, unless I can persuade a company to hire me without having a vacancy advertised, it's freelance time til I can move for a job.

So yes, this is all very reassuring! Thanks again :)